Development in the International Political Economy

  • Summer schools
  • Department of International Development
  • Application code SS-IR207
  • Starting 2021
  • Short course: Closed
  • Location: Houghton Street, London

How do some countries get rich but others remain poor? Will trade wars and climate change slow down economic growth? How can we build democracy and gender equality in poorer countries?

In this course you will consider these and other questions. You will also relate them to important topical events such as the global financial crisis, economic growth in China, and refugee crises such as the war in Syria, drought and food security in Africa, or democratisation in Latin America. The course offers an introduction to International Development – or the study of how to achieve prosperous, healthy, and fulfilling lives in different countries. International Development is now a growing field of social science, and is a focus of public policy.

The objective of the course will be to explain the core debates in International Development, and to review potential policy interventions at global, national, and sub-national levels. The approach adopted in the course draws from political science and international relations, with a focus on political economy. It does not use quantified economics, and essays will be the means of evaluation.

The subject matter of the course will include economic globalization, trade and investment, the causes and responses to poverty, democracy and gender empowerment, international aid and armed conflict, natural  disasters and climate change. The course will also consider the role of international organisations such as the World Bank, the United Nations, and the World Trade Organisation, as well as other aid and civil society organisations.

You will leave this course with a valuable overview of international development, and different approaches used by international organisations, governments, and civil society. The course attracts students in politics, international relations, economics, geography, and sociology, as well professionals looking for a fast introduction to academic and policy debates about development.

Session: Three - Applications closed
Dates: 2 – 20 August 2021 
Lecturer: Professor Tim Forsyth


Programme details

Key facts

Level: 200 level. Read more information on levels in our FAQs

Fees:  Please see Fees and payments

Lectures: 36 hours 

Classes: 18 hours

Assessment*: One examination and one essay

Typical credit**: 3-4 credits (US) 7.5 ECTS points (EU)

*Assessment is optional

**You will need to check with your home institution

For more information on exams and credit, read Teaching and assessment


At least one introductory course in either social science (e.g. political science, international relations, sociology, economics), history or law.

Programme structure

  • What is “Development”?
  • Getting Rich: Economic Growth and Industrialisation
  • The Debt Crisis and the rise of Neo-Liberal Governance
  • Governing Trade, Globalisation, and Financial Crises
  • Politics: The State and Governance in International Development
  • Poverty and Inequality
  • Gender and Development
  • Disasters and Vulnerability to Climate Change
  • Aid and Humanitarianism
  • Population and Resources
  • Food and Rural Development
  • International Policy on Climate Change and Development / Roundup.

Course outcomes

Students will gain a comprehensive introduction to International Development as discussed in national and international politics.


LSE’s Department of International Development promotes interdisciplinary postgraduate teaching and research on processes of social, political and economic development and change. The department is dedicated to understanding problems of poverty and late development within local communities, as well as national and international political and economic systems.   

Research and teaching in the department is concerned with the causes of poverty, social exclusion, economic stagnation, humanitarian crises and human security. Their aim is to provide students with an understanding of why and how some late developing countries have succeeded in overcoming these problems while others have not or have seen their progress derailed by disasters and conflicts. There are also research units that operate through the department. Faculty have considerable experience in living and working in the developing world and most have engaged in policy-relevant research and consultancy work with international development agencies or non-governmental organisations.             

On this three-week intensive programme, you will engage with and learn from full-time lecturers from the LSE’s international development faculty.

Reading materials

Currie-Alder, B., Kanbur, R., Malone, D. and Medhora, R. (eds), International Development: Ideas, Experience, and Prospects. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2014).

Additional readings from more advanced journals and book chapters will be recommended as well. 

*A more detailed reading list will be supplied prior to the start of the programme

**Course content, faculty and dates may be subject to change without prior notice

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